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Doctor Who: The Butcher Of Brisbane by Marc Platt

01/08/2012. Contributed by Sue Davies

Buy Doctor Who: The Butcher Of Brisbane in the USA - or Buy Doctor Who: The Butcher Of Brisbane in the UK

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pub: Big Finish. 2 CDs 120 minute story. Price: CD: 14.99 (UK), Download: 12.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-84435-629-4) cast: Peter Davison, Janet Fielding, Mark Strickson, Sarah Sutton, Angus Wright, Rupert Frazer, Felicity Duncan, Daniel Weyman, Daisy Ashford and John Banks.

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Something a little different from this Big Finish, 'The Butcher Of Brisbane' not only splits our travellers in space and time but two of them actually get a life. While they wait and hope to see their friends again, the pair has to integrate into a strange society and contemplate a possible future without their travelling companions.

As the TARDIS heads towards a mini-break on Earth, in particular Tegan's home of Brisbane, it suffers an intrusion. The wake of a time experiment brutally snatches Nyssa and Turlough from the safety of the blue box and they are hurtled into a frozen waste of the Forbidden Zone, circa the 51st century. A quick death from hypothermia is likely but as Nyssa tries to save another person also flung from the sky, she is disconcerted when he addresses both her and Turlough by name. The dying man has been expecting the pair and he has something to tell them.

Meanwhile, the Doctor and Tegan momentarily arrive on Earth three years later. It looks like Nyssa and Turlough have gone native and Tegan is alarmed to discover that Nyssa is intimate with a man despite having a husband and children at home - the minx! The Doctor is even more alarmed to discover the man is Magnus Greel, who he met as the Fourth Doctor. The charismatic and unstable minister has designs on more than just Nyssa.

Effectively a prequel to the 'Talons Of Weng Chiang', this adventure has a lot to offer in its own right, notwithstanding the knowledge that Greel must somehow end up in Victorian London at the end of it. Conscious of the pressures of history and time itself, the Fifth Doctor must use his own cleverness to overcome the monster.

Angus Wright is a commanding and unstable in equal measures as the charismatic, potential megalomania Marcus Greel and Rupert Frazer is equally but oppositely insanely cold as the alien scientist Dr. Findecker who is tasked with Greel's gruesome experiments.

Mix up DNA, enhanced dingoes and a daisy-headed android, add a dash of Icelandic politician and all out war and you start to get something on an epic scale.

Spread over the four episodes required, this seems to fill up the space nicely. There is a little too much angst over the problems with time and history from the Fifth Doctor and it does feel somewhat shoehorned in at some points. All this is to remind us that he has already experienced the encounter with Marcus Greel and this cannot be changed.

Overall, though it's good when the Doctor gets to be clever rather than be washed like flotsam on the shores of the sea of time and I liked what they did with Turlough and Nyssa, she's not so goody-two shoes in this adventure. I just wonder if Turlough exchanged his uniform for something a little more comfortable in his three year sojourn....

Sue Davies

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This book has 3 votes in the sci-fi charts

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